Corinthian Colleges to be monitored by ex-U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald

Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:21pm EDT
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Former federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald agreed to serve as an independent monitor of Corinthian Colleges Inc, the struggling for-profit education company that agreed to sell or close its campuses, the U.S. Department of Education said on Friday.

Fitzgerald, 53, is a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which he joined in 2012 after a decade as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago.

As a prosecutor, he won the convictions of former Illinois governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich; and the conviction of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, related to the leak of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity.

Corinthian serves about 72,000 students, operates 107 campuses under such names as Everest, Heald and WyoTech, and also offers degrees online.

It agreed on July 3 with the Education Department to put 85 campuses up for sale, wind down 12 others, and try to sell its Canadian schools.

As monitor, Fitzgerald will oversee the sales' process, have full access to Corinthian's personnel and budget records, make sure the company complies with federal laws, and help ensure that already-enrolled students complete their courses of study.

He will also oversee the establishment of a reserve fund of at least $30 million, which will be used to offer full refunds to eligible students.

Fitzgerald, through a Skadden spokeswoman, was not available on Friday to comment.   Continued...

Patrick Fitzgerald during a news conference at the Dirksen Federal building in Chicago, Illinois December 9, 2008. REUTERS/Frank Polich